What can one say about Riley King, better known and loved by the world as B.B. King, one of the greatest blues guitarists ever, that hasn’t been said a million times before without sounding insincere or hackneyed? Not much, frankly. He’s a legend and an American treasure. He’s 89 years old now and not in the best of health, but he is as beloved as ever and will always be looked upon with respect, admiration and pure love by all.
This excellent documentary, filmed over a two year span by Jon Brewer, is fascinating, riveting and interesting for its detail; archival footage and stories abound. From his youth as an orphan in the cottonfields of Mississippi to his earliest days on WDIA in Memphis (complete with a glimpse of the late Rufus Thomas doing his radio show) to the Civil Rights era to the endless guest tributes and testimonials. Watching B.B. King doing his thing with Lucille (his trademark Gibson guitar) is, as it ever was, a joy to behold. Seeing the footage from his Royal Albert Hall performance and being joined by such luminaries as Ronnie Wood, Derek Trucks and Slash, is simply astonishing. Even though the blues is mired in darkness and experience, B.B. King always manages to bring a touch of joy and light to the sounds emanating from his fingers.
You would be doing yourself an injustice by not getting a copy or watching this spectacular DVD; B.B. King is as crucial to America’s musical history as anyone else we’ve deemed “legendary” and “influential”. B.B. King IS the Master. Watch, learn and let yourself be bowled over by his beauty and his genius.